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Greener classes at today's business schools

STANFORD --The costs of environmental protection are growing for American business, and many business leaders expect environmental issues to become even more crucial in the near future.

According to a survey conducted by the nonprofit Management Institute for Environment and Business, environmental protection costs now account for about 2 percent of the U.S. gross national product and climb to more than 10 percent of the operating costs in certain industries.

The interactions between the environment and the economy are drawing increasing attention from business schools, the institute reported last spring in "Environmental Progress: The Role of Business Schools."

The institute asked business schools at five universities - Stanford, the University of Michigan, Northwestern University, the University of Texas-Austin and the University of Virginia - to join in an experimental partnership to develop models for integrating environmental issues into business school education.

"In 1987 very few of the nation's 700 business schools offered environmental management courses," institute chairman William F. Miller, professor of public and private management at the Stanford Business School, wrote in his introduction to the report.

"Today, there are courses offered or under development at more than 50 schools," Miller wrote. "Moreover, the nature of environmental management education is progressing from an external regulatory or contextual issue toward an internal management issue."

James Patell, Herbert Hoover Professor of Public and Private Management at the Stanford Business School, also serves on the board.

The participating business schools and some of their successful academic projects involving the environment are described in the report. Stanford projects include:

  • A module on total quality environmental management, taught by Patell, that utilizes materials developed by the institute and AT&T's Columbus Works. The module is included in both the new MBA elective "Total Quality Management" and in the summer Stanford Executive Program. Patell also uses the Environmental Self- Assessment Program co-developed by Global Environmental Management Initiative and Deloitte & Touche, a project led by Charles McGlashan, Stanford MBA '91.
  • The Business School's Strategic Executive Program in Mexico. Offered in conjunction with the Monterrey Institute of Technology and Higher Education, the program includes discussions of economic and trade issues involving the environment.
  • The course "Environmental Management and Policy Analysis," developed by Jeremy Bulow, professor of economics. The course is designed to introduce the scientific and economic elements of environmental challenges.
  • Research by William Lovejoy, associate professor of operations management, that uses linear programming to study product introduction strategies, each of which has significant environmental implications.
  • The course "Management Strategies in the Nonprofit Environment," taught by Robert Augsburger, lecturer in management. The course uses a series of case studies of conservation groups operating in Latin America.

Additional information on the Management Institute for Environment and Business is available from Dirk Long, MEB, 1220 16th Street NW, Washington, D.C. 20036.



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